Though most people associate a mid-life crisis with, well, mid-life it seems that the younger generations just can’t wait for theirs.
For reasons that are not immediately, apparent Millennials are instancing chronic bouts of existential panic much earlier than previous generations. New data from Senior List.com explores the under-reported prevalence of the career-triggered life crisis.
Just about half of this demographic has experienced a life crisis by the age of 25. An even larger portion (91%) reported feeling extreme self-doubt or fear that they had yet to fulfill their full potential around this age.
This breed of anxiety is all but inevitable. For Generation X it hit them by the time they turned 33. For Boomers, the median was closer to 37. Job and finance related stressors were prominent triggers for every cohort involved in the study.
A movement premised against the lack of a practical living wage has been raging for the last decade or so in the US. As it stands, America simultaneously works more hours than any other nation in the industrialized world while evidencing some of the highest poverty rates.
Life, love and money = panic
Senior List administered their new survey to 995 able participants. Forty-four percent of the pool identified as male and 56% identified as female. Sixty percent were Millennials, 24% belonged to Generation X, and 12% were Baby Boomers. The respondents ranged in age from 18 to 77 with an average age of 34 and a standard deviation of 12.8 years.
Career goals and finances were unanimously occasioned as panic triggers, but the three generations reacted very differently to psychological and romantic trauma.
Poor mental health appeared as a catalyst fairly often in Millennial responses.
For Generation X and Baby Boomers romantic relationships and physical health tended to take the number three spot respectively as far as triggers were concerned.
“The youngest generation has brought a new wave of openness regarding mental health; however, the lack of stigma hasn’t prevented the generation from struggling. Young adults have higher rates of mental health issues and are less equipped to deal with them, likely leading to an increased risk of crises,” the authors wrote in the report.
The average Millennial experienced a romantic crisis at the age of 23, the average Gen Xer experienced the same by 33 and Baby Boomers more often than not cited the age of 42. These ages were also observed to be the same in relation to financial crisis.
For a career crisis, Millennials reported the age of 25, Gen X, 35 and Boomers, 38.
Collectively roughly 40% of the Americans polled felt that they were not particularly good at handling a life crisis.
Generations were similarly aligned when it came to the nature of their financial turmoil. Most expressed a frustrating lack of control over salary growth. Burnout and the gender gap governed the degree of this figure further.
Women were 14% more likely to cite a lack of fiscal control compared to men and employees who worked more than 40 hours per week were 75% more likely to say the same.
“While nearly 60% of baby boomers said the midlife crisis was the worst, only 20.3% thought the quarter-life crisis was,” the authors concluded.
“Despite having similar symptoms, baby boomers said a midlife crisis is twice as taxing as a later-life and quarter-life crisis put together.”